recent releases

Daniel Lentz
River of 1,000 Streams


One of the Alex Ross/The New Yorker “Notable Recordings of 2017”  

River of 1,000 Streams is a dense, slowly evolving virtuosic piano piece in which a live/solo part is expanded by the addition of hundreds of “cascading echoes” (reappearing fragments of music) that appear kaleidoscopically in up to 11 simultaneous layers, creating thick clouds of (primarily) tremolos that gradually gain in density and volume as rich, drifting harmonies climb, in a great arc, from the very bottom to the top of the keyboard.

River is performed by one of Los Angeles’s most prominent pianists, Vicki Ray, a Grammy-nominated new-music champion and a founding member of the California EAR Unit and Piano Spheres. She has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players and many new music groups in LA and around the world.  [More info…]

“When it comes to attempts at musical seduction, Lentz’s music is way out front.” —Kyle Gann, Village Voice

“Lentz’s music inhabits…a musical ‘state of becoming,’ where both new and reappearing musical and textual fragments are fused through complex layering processes.” —John Schaefer, New Sounds, WNYC

“Lentz’s work ‘chortles’ in ways both sensual and intellectual.” —Los Angeles Reader

“By intriguing his listeners at the same time he wreathes them in smiles, Lentz always comes up with something listenable and worthwhile.” —Gramophone

Larry Polansky


A Guitar Moderne 2017 “Record Pick”

Larry Polansky’s freeHorn is an album of three shape-shifting chamber works. The textural, ever morphing freeHorn, performed by an octet of mixed instruments, and the pulsing electric guitar duo ii-v-i modulate between three different natural harmonic series, providing intriguing musical outings that are somewhat adrift from the tempered tunings that most of us are accustomed to. The short third track, minmaj, another duo for electric guitars, is Polansky’s unusual “translation” of Carl Ruggles’s 1921 brass piece Angels. The three works are performed by the composer in the company of a group of Bay Area composer-performers. [More info…]

“The Music of…Larry Polansky is a marvelous combination of the mathematical and the expressive. The blend is so seamless, in fact, that it serves to point out the absurdity of regarding those two strains as opposite or even especially different.” —Joshua Kosman, SFGate

“Polansky has created a vast body of compositions that defy stylistic pigeonholing, from two-second canons to massive solo piano showcases as well as works for rock band, interactive computer environments, and solo piccolo in extended just intonation…. Every project he gets involved with ties to his social philosophy, as well. In everything he does, Polansky aims to create a model for a better world, a place where hierarchies cease to be oppressive and barriers are abolished.” —Frank J. Oteri, NewMusicBox

Stephen Whittington


This new CD presents two of Australian composer Stephen Whittington’s stunningly beautiful string quartets: his elegant, eclectic seven-movement …from a thatched hut, which embraces, sometimes obliquely, the composer’s deep interest in Chinese poetry and his frequent travels in China, and his evocative, haunting Windmill, which draws sonic references to the small metal windmills commonly found in rural areas of Australia (“pump[ing] up life-giving water in the often desolate landscape,” the composer notes) and much of the rest of the world. Both works are performed by Australia’s celebrated Zephyr Quartet, the group that recorded Whittington’s earlier Cold Blue release, Music for Airport Furniture (CB0038). [More info…]

“If Australia has produced a classic piece of musical minimalism, [Windmill] is it.” —Graham Strahle, The Australian

“Stephen combines a certain Brit-Aussie whimsy and humor with a sharp critical mind, a deep knowledge of the American and international avant-garde, and an increasing awareness that Australia, being a pacific nation, looks to Asia as its closest neighbor.” —Peter Garland

“Whittington weaves together musical influences from many different musical cultures…. His compositions have significant depth to them.” —Ralph Graves, Finding Beauty in Ephemera

Erik Griswold

Ecstatic Descent


One of Ted Gioia’s “100 Best Recordings of 2017” (

Composer Erik Griswold’s unrestrainedly exhilarating music has been described as “Startlingly fresh…intelligent, intuitive and original” (The Courier Mail) “colorful and refreshingly unpretentious” (Paris Transatlantic), and “kaleidoscopic” (Modisti), and said to remind us that “music of a more esoteric nature can be engaging and fun” (RealTime).

Ecstatic Descent is a prepared-piano work that melds composed and improvisational elements to create an intensely animated, one-of-a-kind textural soundworld. The composer writes, “In Ecstatic Descent every note of the piano is altered (“prepared”) with bolts, screws, strips of rubber, cardboard, and paper—transforming the instrument into a miniature percussion orchestra. By carefully positioning these materials along its strings the entire piano is, in effect, tuned to A minor. On this singular instrument I perform cascades of rapid-fire textures that start at the very top of the keyboard and wend their way down, bubbling and glinting as they descend.” [More info…]

Ecstatic Descent is certainly an apt title for this 40-minute excursion into the world of prepared piano…but the evocative imagery of that title is only one variable in a complex and fascinating equation…. When the final notes fade, or rather are absorbed into the silence that was so integral to the piece’s second half, a satisfying sense of connection and resolution is palpable. This is music whose opening minutes are deceptively simple and whose form and structure reward deep and repeated listening.” —Marc Medwin, Fanfare magazine

“The 45-minute work has so rich a cornucopia of sound colors that it never ceases to fascinate. There is not a minute too much. All lays out fittingly, with a fresh ambiance that neither relaxes nor wearies the close listener. Kudos! This is a blast.”—Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

“Erik Griswold’s kaleidoscopic material ripples, sparkles, and flutters like sunlight reflecting off a water’s surface, the ear constantly dazzled by a plethora of pianistic detail.”—Textura

Nicholas Chase



Bhajan, described by one critic as “a pas de deux between violin and electronics,” is composer Nicholas Chase‘s free-wheeling yet meditative four-part work for electric violin and live electronics. Influenced by musics from around the globe, the work bewitches the ear with a breadth of sounds that ebb and flow as if guided by an elusive but inherent sense of logic. It features violinist Robin Lorentz, with the composer performing the electronics part.

The Los Angeles Times has aptly described Chase’s music as having a “brawling yet taut energy,” and his multi-media and improvisation work has been described by LA Weekly as “pushing the edge of audio/visual improv.” Chase’s chamber works and electronic works have been performed at festivals around the world.  [More info…]

“This new soloist and live processing collaborative release from Cold Blue Music begs the question: Has there been a more effective use of the Eb chord since Wagner’s Ring cycle? It opens the 46-minute Bhajan, and from there, no one looks back. Unlike so much new music, composer Nicholas Chase and former California EAR Unit violinist Robin Lorentz have fashioned a disc whose power and beauty need no garishness for the myriad statements they make.”—Marc Medwin, Fanfare magazine

Bhajan…is like one of those dreams in which you find yourself in a totally unfamiliar and yet comforting place…. The only thing that makes me sad about this release is the fact that it isn’t longer.”—Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare magazine

Ms. Lorentz and Nicholas Chase have set a standard in Bhajan that others would do well to emulate.” —Paul Muller, New Classic LA

“Sci-fi ambience sets the stage for the full impact of Lorentz’s expressive, lyrical, rhapsodic virtuosity…. An extraordinary arc of pure sound has led to a celestial rainbow.” —Gramophone

Chas Smith

Twilight of the Dreamboats


Specially priced 25-min CD EP

Chas Smith is a musician who has created his own unique musical world—complete with its own instruments and “language.” It is a world of expansive musical tapestries and carefully sculpted textures that evolve via a slow, constant change of aural perspective. 

Twilight of the Dreamboats, a quintessential Smith electro-acoustic work, is an ever-evolving single gesture, a seamless blend of tones and timbres from his metal sound sculptures and his homemade and hot-rodded steel guitars, performed by the composer. [More info…]

“Smith’s pieces are music of experiment and discovery: a way of enabling the physical world to ‘speak’ by investigating, harnessing and organizing its sonic properties. The extraordinary sound-world of Smith’s articulately structured music captivates from the start.”—International Record Review

“Chas Smith, musician, composer, engineer, metal craftsman and inventor, is a classic American original.”—New Times (Los Angeles)

“With Smith’s music, the sounds are as compelling as his concepts and instruments.” —The Wire magazine

“Smith creates unsettling music that is both beautiful and eerie.”—Electronic Musician magazine

Peter Garland
After the Wars


Specially priced CD EP [20 mins.]

Peter Garland is a composer, world traveler, musicologist, writer, and former publisher whose music is always informed by his well-traveled ear and strong sense of personal vision. 

After the Wars, a resonant, sometimes clangorous four-movement piano solo performed by new-music champion Sarah Cahill, displays a unique sense of grace and a sincerity of expression that is quite simply Garlandesque. 

Garland writes about the music: “Each of the transparent and self-contained movements takes as inspiration a Chinese poem or Japanese haiku…. I explore the quality of resonance in the piano: not just the notes played on the keyboard, but the sense of echo and fade produced by a very deliberate use of pedaling, and the sustaining and release of piano keys after notes and chords are sounded. It creates a sense of timbral color and acoustic perspective…. Each movement is like a single image, simply stated with relatively little temporal or thematic development….” [More info…]

“Garland’s music seems to be about the sheer expressive power of sound itself…. I feel he is one of our true originals.” —Robert Carl, Fanfare magazine

“‘Radical consonance’ has been used to describe Garland’s music…an apt choice of words.” —Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare magazine

“Ever his own man, Garland has moved beyond a strictly minimalist phase of evolving melodic and rhythmic patterns into a hybrid sphere of many influences from the panorama of world music.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“[Garland] is an avatar of an experimental American tradition…a composer of mesmerizing music…the musical conscience of my generation.”—Kyle Gann, Chamber Music magazine

Michael Byron
In the village of Hope


Specially priced CD EP [23 mins.]

One of Textura‘s Top 10 EPs of 2015

Michael Byron’s music tends to be harmonically rich, rhythmically detailed, and virtuosic. It is often praised for its ability to create uniquely dense constructions out of relatively limited means: “Byron creates maximalist effect out of minimalist means.” (ClassicalNet) “One is reminded…of the mobiles of Alexander Calder, which are both fixed and moving. And, like Calder’s work, Byron’s music is immediately comprehensible and beautiful, while it remains experimental.” (San Francisco Bay Guardian) “Byron’s music, like Ligeti’s, is instantly recognizable, perceptually challenging, beautifully proportioned and deeply satisfying.” (Paris Transatlantic)

In the Village of Hope is a restless (and in some ways relentless) virtuosic harp solo performed by Tasha Smith Godínez. This ever-changing, ever-developing music is unlike anything else in the solo harp repertoire. [More info…]

In the Village of Hope simultaneously lulls and rouses the listener with elegantly cascading counterpoint and lush harmonies animated by complex rhythms. Its kaleidoscopic variations evoke ethereal wind chimes, rendering both the calm and the storm in a single gesture.”—Eric Smigel

“Michael Byron’s music…[is] truly bewitching…an intriguing mix of tranquillity and restlessness, hot and cold, highs and lows.” —Incursion Music Review

“Byron’s music…as it calms you, it plants seeds of doubt, even disturbance in your head. One eye might close, but the other remains nervously scanning the horizon.”—Fanfare magazine

John Luther Adams

The Wind in High Places



A New York Times Best Classical Music Recording of 2015

One of the Alex Ross/The New Yorker “Ten Notable Recordings” of 2015

A WQXR Q2 Music “Album of the Week” 2015

A Textura “Album of the Month” 2015

One of the Chicago Reader/Peter Margasak’s “Favorite Albums of 2015”

On Iowa Public Radio’s 2015 Classical “Mega-Meta-List”

JACK Quartet is Musical America’s “Ensemble of the Year,” 2019

John Luther Adams’s carefully shaped, gracefully stirring pieces on this album, which New York Times critic Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim called “mesmerizing,” seem to alter common notions of musical time and unfold in a temporal space of their own creation, as do so many of Adams’s works.

Beautiful, vaporous string music, featuring the acclaimed JACK Quartet performing the three-movement The Wind in High Places and Dream of the Canyon Wren and the Northwestern Cello Ensemble, directed by Hans Jensen, performing the four-movement cello choir work Canticles of the Sky.

Cold Blue has released four previous CDs devoted to 2014 Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Adams’s music, and shorter works of his have appeared on two of the label’s anthology releases. [More info…]

“The album’s thought is evident without being distracting…. The skilled fusion of the JACK Quartet turns The Wind into something other than a three-movement work. It’s like watching something take flight and, as the final notes fade, blend in with the sky.”—Q2 Music (WQXR)

A striking new album of austere landscapes and mysterious light.” — Tom Huizenga, Deceptive Cadence, NPR

“John Luther Adams gives us some of his most intimate music on this one. It communicates directly and with sublimity.”—Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

The Wind in High Places, like much of Adams’ writing, inhabits its own unique, atemporal sphere.”—Textura

The Wind in High Places, a tripartite piece for string quartet that uses only natural harmonics and open strings—played extremely quietly—to create a still, pastoral ambience…. Could any new music be more delicately sparse, more wonderfully poetic? I think not.” —John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

“Adams’s major works have the appearance of being beyond style; they transcend the squabbles of contemporary classical music.” —Alex Ross, The New Yorker

Daniel Lentz
In the Sea of Ionia


This album’s often gorgeous, often kaleidoscopically bright and bustling pieces by quintessential California composer Daniel Lentz freely explore and skew two centuries of classical piano music. All the piano parts on this recording—from solo to seven pianos (via overdubbing)—are performed by Grammy-nominated new-music pianist Aron Kallay[More info…]

“Speaking broadly, composer Daniel Lentz is deemed a kind of maverick ‘Minimalist,’ West Coast division. But…subtleties of an artist’s voice can get glossed over in the simplifying process of ‘general deeming.’ Let’s just say he broaches sonic beauty and Minimalist-colored/rhythmicized ideas, but on his own terms…. [H]e has plenty to say…and a sensitive, sturdy ally in pianist Mr. Kallay…. With a vocabulary borrowing from influences as varied as Ravel, Brian Wilson and Bill Evans, Mr. Lentz’s music is not as pretty as it might sound—or is not ‘only’ pretty. Ulterior strategies are afoot. Sentimentality grazes past and is hustled into new shapes, in a place where lyricism is served on the rocks.” —Josef Woodard, Santa Barbara News-Press

“Daniel Lentz has been composing and releasing music for many decades, yet the music he’s creating today is as vital as anything produced in the past. While his omnivorous output ranges from the wildly exuberant to the preternaturally calm, it’s always infused with the joy of music-making and the creative spirit.” —Textura

“When it comes to attempts at musical seduction, Daniel Lentz’s music is way out in front.” —Kyle Gann, Village Voice

“By intriguing his listeners at the same time he wreathes them in smiles, Lentz always comes up with something listenable and worthwhile.” —Gramophone

“Lentz’s music inhabits what he terms a musical ‘state of becoming,’ where both new and reappearing musical and textual fragments are fused through complex layering processes.” — John Schaefer, New Sounds, WNYC